At the Council meeting on December 18, Alpine Shire Council voted to suspend further development of the current feasibility work for the ‘village green’. Council will leave open the option of a village oval for future development once they have done the required vegetation offsets for Lot 3 (see below). Lot 3 is the land to the south of the village which is currently undeveloped.

Separate to this project, a planning permit has recently been granted for the construction of 7.1 km of new mountain bike trails in Dinner Plain, and the estimated cost of delivering this project is $400,000. Trail construction work is planned to commence in early 2018.

The following motion was adopted in relation to the Dinner Plain Village Green project;

That Council:

  1. Does not proceed with the Dinner Plain Village Green project;
  2. Considers future open space proposals at Dinner Plain that are low cost and have low environmental, cultural heritage and visual impacts; and,
  3. Investigates the potential to establish Lot 3 as a Native Vegetation Credit Register Offset Site for future Dinner Plain projects.

There are further materials from Council about the project and the consultation process around the proposal available here. Check here for a recent Mountain Journal article on the proposal.

In documents prepared for the meeting, Council noted that ‘the following significant issues would need to be addressed to achieve successful project delivery:

  • Native vegetation removal will trigger the requirement for a planning permit. The permit application will be subject to public exhibition and based on the results of the community engagement we expect objections to be raised to the proposal from members of the Dinner Plain community and from further afield.

Opposition to the project has the potential to escalate, particularly on environmental grounds.

  • The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is a referral authority for the planning permit, and their support for the project is contingent on demonstrating an overwhelming benefit for the project to proceed, and that all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise impact on native vegetation.
  • Three specific vegetation offsets are yet to be identified.
  • Significant cultural heritage value may be found at the project site.
  • Escalation in costs is possible, particularly with respect to vegetation offset management costs.

The potential value of Lot 3 as a source of specific vegetation offsets has become clearly apparent through the Village Green feasibility study work. Irrespective of the Village Green decision, there is a benefit in formally establishing the potential of Lot 3 as a Native Vegetation Credit Register Offset Site for future Dinner Plain projects where native vegetation removal is a requirement.

Additional notes about the public consultation process prepared by Council officers note the following:

‘The results of the community engagement process indicate that the Dinner Plain community is divided on the Village Green proposal, and that there is not a clear majority in favour of this project.

The risks associated with proceeding with the project are significant and will require a considerable amount of additional time and expense to resolve, with no guarantee that the project will receive the approvals required to enable construction.

Based on the results of the community engagement process and consideration of the risks to successful delivery of the project, it is recommended that the project does not proceed’.